DEAR MISS MANNERS: When a man and woman eat at a restaurant, who should enter a booth first and slide over? The man would enter a car or boat first, if it were to be entered only from one side, and thus experience the inconvenience of sliding over. However, a man walks on the street side to protect the lady from unpleasantness from the street. That logic would put the lady in the booth first, with the man on the outside.
GENTLE READER: Assuming that the restaurant is not unpleasant, the car-boat rule applies -- although, as with transportation, professional manners substitute rank for gender.
That can be tricky, as a subordinate might not want to slide in first if there were a danger of leaving the boss feeling snubbed. If you believe that your companion -- be it your boss or your date -- will not understand your intentions, Miss Manners suggests being explicit: “Let me just slide over so you don’t have to.”